Tamara is a Serbian photographer and videographer who shares a commercial photography business with her partner Davor. Working through a variety of genres, Tamara brings fresh creativity and experimentation to her commercial photography practice.
Q: Your photography handle is artymotion_visuals, give us the backstory behind that name.
A: When my partner Davor and I thought of a name for our team, we wanted something that rolls off the tongue nicely, is easy to remember, and that, in a way, tells a story of what we do. Artymotion sounds like Art Emotion, it also incorporates the word “motion”, so it has a triple meaning—Art, Emotion, and Motion—all of which are part of our photography and videography work. The word “visuals” is just there to make it perfectly obvious.
Q: Tell us about what drove you to pick up your camera for the first time.
A: The first time I felt like photography was something I’d like to spend my days doing, was when my younger sister asked me to take some portraits of her. She loves modeling and is very natural in front of the camera, so the photos always came out great. The fact that I’m working in the animation and design industry helped in the sense that I knew what to look for when picking a location and how to compose my photos. The posing was all my sister’s given talent, so I had to learn how to pose, communicate, get the reactions and expressions I wanted from people on my own afterward. The Internet helped me with that immensely.
Q: Your 500px Profile says you use a Sony Alpha 6500. Can you give us a quick review of the camera?
A: I can’t express how much I love my little Sony! I think there’s still no camera that compares if you’re on a budget. For me, the biggest advantages are the amazing eye tracking and great low light performance. The menu might be more “complicated” to use, but it is so worth it once you get a handle on it. Put a Sigma lens on it to get those pin-sharp results, and you’re all set, in my opinion.
Q: You are a photographer and videographer, does this camera work for both?
A: Yes, absolutely! That was the main reason we picked it—we couldn’t decide if we would like to do more photography or videography, and the little Sony does it both amazingly.
Q: Some photographers have found themselves in a creative rut with the recent social distancing measures, what has been keeping you inspired and motivated during quarantine?
A: I must admit, since I’m an introvert, I thought quarantine would be a breeze for me, but it turned out it’s not. Photography is actually what’s keeping me sane and positive during quarantine, gives me something to look forward to every day. I do like to photograph portraits more than anything, so I’m pushed to get out of my comfort zone and try photographing different things. I like trying to recreate other people’s work, that gets me started and, every single time, I make so many twists and turns it ends up being something entirely different. I also love coming to 500px and checking out the Quests, both new and old ones always provide me with fresh concepts and spark up new ideas.
Q: You work with a number of small, independent clothing brands. Do you have any advice for photographers trying to break into the commercial side of photography?
A: I started photographing clothes by accident. I fell in love with a line of uniquely designed dresses from a local designer. I approached her and asked if I could borrow a few dresses for my personal project in exchange for photos, and she told me she wanted to photograph her entire line and would pay me to do it. That’s how it all started for me so, whatever you want to photograph, my best advice would be—be ready to do some pro-bono work in order to fill your portfolio, get connections, and break the ice. If you’re passionate about it and do good work, commercial projects will follow.
Q: On that note, what was your last commercial shoot before physical distancing came into effect where you live?
A: The last commercial shoot we did was March 11, a few days before the emergency state was declared in my country.
Q: Your series, “coffee and silk”, features your model in a milky bath, something many photographers love to shoot. What did you use to color the water?
A: We used about 3L of milk in a typical size bathtub. That’s it. I edited the color in Photoshop by using a Channel Mixer adjustment layer and masked out the model, so the color only affects the liquid.
Q: From ideation to execution—can you break down this shoot into three easy-to-follow steps?
A: Step 1: Idea—I actually had the idea from a 500px Quest where the main focus was coffee. I wanted to do a milk bath for some time, and this was the perfect opportunity—milk and coffee was such an obvious choice.
Step 2: Preparation—I went online and checked how much milk goes into a shoot like this. I already had a perfect dress for it, and I’m lucky my best friend is a beautiful model, so we were all set for the shoot.
Step 3: Execution—First, we set the lights in our bathroom, we didn’t have a professional flash at the time. We made a DIY continuous light, the light itself looked ridiculous but did an amazing job. With everything set and checked, we brewed a fresh cup of coffee so that it had rich foam, poured the milk in a tub full of warm water so that the temperature was pleasant for our model, and started shooting. We ended up with a batch of very good looking photos, which I color graded and retouched in the end.
Q: You do a lot of work with your partner, Davor. Do you have any tips for other photographers looking to work with their friends, family, or significant others?
A: Two heads are better than one. At first, I was a bit concerned that if we worked together, it would interfere with our creativity, that we would get in the way of each other. But actually, since we are different people, we bring different things to the table. This means we have more ideas, different points of view, which result in a greater number of creative outcomes. Davor is more into knowing everything about the gear we use, and I’m more into creating concepts and stories. So it works out perfectly. My advice would be—go for it, if you’re good together in general, you will surely discover how to cooperate in photography too, and find your unique roles.
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